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OkayAfrica's 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

Our curated list of 10 black-owned and black-created things that'll make the coolest gifts this holiday season.

And just like that, it's December. Whether you're giving gifts as part of a holiday tradition or just need to find something for your loved ones, we're using this as an excuse to highlight some of the products we've loved this year. We've curated another shortlist of black-owned and black-created things to shop for your loved ones (or for yourself!) this gifting season.

See OkayAfrica's 2019 #BuyBlack Black Friday holiday shopping guide here

Check out our 10 picks below.


Shuri by Nnedi Okorafor

Naijamerican author Nnedi Okorafor has had one hell of a year. She's the pen behind Marvel's new comic spinoff, Shuri, which would be the perfect gift for your Black Panther and black girl magic enthusiast. Shuri explores the science and tech genius' journey where she's forced to choose the comforts of her gadget-filled lab or the people of Wakanda—as Black Panther gets lost in a space mission leaving Wakandans without a king.

Read more about the series here, and grab issue #1 here and issue #2 here.

BrownMill Company

2018 is the year of streetwear with a purpose and the BrownMill Company is one to take note of this holiday season. Founded in 2009 by Justis Pitt-Goodson, BrownMill is a fusion of bespoke tailoring and streetwear with a mission to reduce waste. The brand utilizes fabrics and materials when manufacturing their 'One-of-One' pieces, which in turn gives the consumer a unique product in their closet.

Here's their website.

Coloring Pins

Coloring Pins is your destination to nab pins, patches, keychains and stickers designed for the culture. Owner Essence Hayes found her niche in the accessories market that authentically represents the misrepresented and the underrepresented. "There are tons of cute pins, but none of them resonated with me or made me feel like I had to have them," Hayes says on her site. "I wanted a pin that was an extension of me, and I wanted to be able to walk with a pin that spoke before I did."

Shop on their website.

Scotch Porter

Calvin Quallis founded skincare and haircare brand Scotch Porter for the men who are about that self-care life but want to do so on a budget. And that's too real—wanting to take care of oneself shouldn't always have to come at a high price. His brand offers all-natural grooming products that tackle dry skin, hair health, beard maintenance and more that are worth a try.

Check out their website.

Justina Blakeney Home

For the loved one who loves bohemian and bright-colored home decor, Justina Blakeney Home is worth checking out. Justina Blakeney is a designer, artist and author of The New Bohemians—a New York Times bestseller. Her home decor brand features a variety of lifestyle products including furniture, case goods, gorgeous rugs, pillows, cheeky wallpaper and stationary.

Shop via Justina's website.

JEHU-CAL

Jehu-cal Emmanuel Enemokwu, also known as EMAY4K, is the founder and owner of his eponymous brand, JEHU-CAL. The Nigerian-British designer found his knack for fashion after customizing his low-cost clothes in secondary school. Enemokwu decided to name his fashion brand after his first name as a way to reclaim what was robbed of him due to bullying growing up—and the clean, bright designs show for it. JEHU-CAL is also an advocate for sustainable fashion by sourcing environmentally friendly materials, recyclable yarn and organic cotton.

Check out more JEHU-CAL threads via their website.

Temple Zen Skincare

Temple Zen Skincare was born out of the need for professional dancer and choreographer Jashiro Dean to preserve and maintain his body after a hard day's work. From using salt baths, shea and cocoa butters to utilizing essential oils, Dean wanted to impart the benefits he reaped from developing his products to his friends, family and the world. Another eco-friendly brand, Temple Zen Skincare's small-batch products are concentrated with vitamins and nutrients for healthier skin.

Shop on their website.

These Bones Will Rise Again by Panashe Chigumadzi

Zimbabwean-born, South Africa-raised author Panashe Chigumadzi shook the table that is the literary world with her novel, These Bones Will Rise Again this year. OkayAfrica contributor Rufaro Samanga notes the book, inspired by Alice Walker's essay In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens, tells the story of Mbuya Nehanda—a medium who was a fighter in Zimbabwe's Chimurenga liberation movement. It's Chigumadzi's reflection on her home country's history paired with her own family history.

Revisit our interview with Chigumadzi here and grab a copy on Amazon.

LUV SCRUB

For those folks in your life who are still unaware of the world wonder that is the net sponge, this bath tool will be sure to change their life and reveal smooth skin they didn't know they had. The LUV SCRUB is a stretchy sponge that elongates enough to get every nook and cranny of the body for a good daily scrub down—even giving you the ability to properly reach your back. Founded by Ghanaian Caroline Owusu-Ansah, she has brought the tool that's a staple in West African households and smartly presented it to the beauty world. A clutch stocking-stuffer.

Shop on their website.

OkayAfrica Shop

We are closing out this list shamelessly plugging our very own shop. We gave you the goods with dope designs this year that celebrated African pride, the legend himself Fela Kuti and even Africa's participation in the World Cup.

Check out our shop's website and keep an eye out for discounts that'll make holiday shopping easier.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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